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I really enjoyed learning about this project, in addition from having a strong model of sharing an initiative.  Congratulations on what has been accomplished thus far!

Thank you for viewing this project, and taking the time to comment and provide feedback.  To answer your questions:
a & b) Groups are diverse -- mixed age, mixed gender, and mixed levels of strengths and challenges.  Typically, Buddy Circles are 4-6 students, though we have gone larger or smaller if warranted.  All of our new students, 1st-grade and older, participate in Buddy Circle, as their easily-identifiable need is that they are new to our school and traditions.  This also avoids the idea that Buddy Circles are a stigma and assigned specifically to students with obvious struggles.  Students can self-identify as wanting a Buddy Circle for a variety of reasons -- struggling with social relationships, classroom routines, etc..., and teachers and parents have also made requests for Buddy Circles on behalf of a student.  Typically, I have been a co-facilitator with at least one of their classroom teachers, though now that we have been at this for a while, many of our teachers will host and facilitate Buddy Circles in partnerships.  
b cont.)  As part of our framework, the first meeting consists of conversations about the expectations and purpose of participating in a Buddy Circle.  Various questions are posed to encourage dialogue about empathy, confidentiality, respect, and trust.  Thus far, students have honored that "What happens in a Buddy Circle stays in a Buddy Circle."  We review at length the purpose and value of honoring the personal information and struggles that others may share.
c)Though we have a goal that every student will experience a Buddy Circle, if not several, in their tenure at our school, the program is voluntary.  Although a student has yet to request they not participate, less than 2 parents have asked that their child not participate for privacy reasons.
d) I do not yet know of a school or agency implementing this type of peer-mentorship and collaborate problem-solving in this capacity.  

Thank you again for your feedback, and allowing me to further describe our initiative. 



Haley commented on Ladies of Distinction

I love that you are including physical education.  We just completed our own Total Wellness project, in which we linked physical activity, nutrition and sleep to mental health and relationships.  I am excited to see what comes of this!